Spare the rod, spoil the child? That’s definitely not the message coming from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which is now strengthening its longstanding position against spanking children as a form of punishment.
“In a new policy statement, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, the pediatricians’ group recommends that adults caring for children use ‘healthy forms of discipline’ — such as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, setting limits and setting expectations — and not use spanking, hitting, slapping, threatening, insulting, humiliating or shaming,” CNN reported Monday.
AAP’s opposition to spanking is not new and has been their stance officially for at least two decades. The pediatric group updated its 1998 statement this week, which recommended, “parents be encouraged and assisted in developing methods other than spanking in response to undesired behavior.”
Dr. Robert Sege, a pediatrician at Tufts Medical Center in Boston told CNN:
“In the 20 years since that policy was first published, there’s been a great deal of additional research, and we’re now much stronger in saying that parents should never hit their child and never use verbal insults that would humiliate or shame the child.”
Updated @AmerAcadPeds policy: Use effective discipline strategies for children that do not involve spanking, other forms of corporal punishment or verbal shaming. https://t.co/fzp4d4z6Dn #AAP18 pic.twitter.com/Xz1W0mLtNT
— AAP News (@AAPNews) November 5, 2018
Social media reacts to pediatricians’ strong stance against spanking
Many of the reactions to the AAP’s stance – today and over the last 20 years – seemed to disagree with the pediatric group’s findings and recommendation, yet others pointed out that their main purpose in issuing the statement was to note the ineffectiveness of corporal punishment.
Clicking on the American Academy of Pediatrics trending topic shows a steady stream of people mad because they think AAP said spanking was bad. Actually, what AAP mostly said was that it doesn't work.
— Angus Johnston (@studentactivism) November 5, 2018
The AAP said that strategies like spanking, hitting, yelling at or shaming kids are "minimally effective in the short term and not effective in the long-term." https://t.co/3pTHjmqBEQ
— KENS 5 (@KENS5) November 5, 2018
“This is much stronger than the previous advice,” Dr. Sege said. “The new policy encourages pediatricians to discuss the data about different kinds of discipline with parents so, of course, they can make their own decisions in how they chose to raise their children.”
And no doubt, parents will decide on their own how best to raise their children – though it is worth considering that the manner in which many previous generations of Americans were raised might not have been the best way based on what we know today.